At a time when Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s star is rising by the day, his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Monday party patriarch LK Advani was the supreme leader of the BJP.
“Advani ji is our supreme (sarvochh) leader — Advani ji and Atal Ji. I say this and everyone in the party says this,” Chouhan told HT here.
“Many like Shivraj Singh have been mentored and nurtured by him.” Chouhan’s comments have come at a time when chances of Modi’s nomination as the BJP’s PM candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls are very high.
Chouhan is here to flag off his Jan Ashirwad Yatra, the launch-pad of his assembly poll campaign.
Advani was unhappy that the party had ignored his plea to have a panel parallel to the Modi-headed central campaign committee. It was believed that the patriarch wanted to balance Modi’s primacy in the party.
He had also praised Chouhan for pulling MP out of the group of Bimaru (economically sick) states, which was also seen as part of his attempt to tone down the BJP’s Modi pitch.
Asked if Advani as mentor was no longer in the race, Chouhan said the parliamentary board of the party would take a call on who would be its PM candidate. He showered praise on the party’s central leadership: “Atal ji is our aradhya (venerable). Advani ji, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley MM Joshi, our party chief Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar — our central leadership has done a great job.” In this, incidentally, he stuck to the central leadership without mentioning Modi.